6 Things Nobody Tells You About Owning a Motorcycle

#3. You Become Filthy

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I ride to work, which means I ride through exhaust, swarms of bugs, and whatever joy the elements bring me that day. If I wear protective clothing, well, you can't wash that stuff too often, so it ends up smelling pretty funky, and that transfers straight to your body. And then there's rain. Has anybody ever told you what it's like to feel rain against your body at 65 mph? If you want to simulate this experience for yourself, that's easy: Just go stand in the yard in the middle of a Category One hurricane.

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Imagine this twirling into your tear ducts while some guy in a two-ton steel bullet tries to cut you off.

But hey, sometimes you ride in the sun, and that's great! The open road, the warm summer air, and the heat ... oh God, the heat. A great deal of bikes, like mine, are air cooled. No radiator. So they're only really cooling down while you're in motion. When you're stopped (say, at one of those lights that doesn't recognize your existence) they're just radiating that heat upward, which happens to be right where your genitals are trapped. Aside from sterility and ball-burns, this also creates a nice pool of junk sweat. But don't worry: It will eventually evaporate ... into the rest of your clothing and skin, leaving you smelling like the floor of a teenager's bedroom for the rest of the day.

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This scene is only hot if you don't imagine the smell of dried taint sweat.

Finally, if you're commuting through a city, there's bus exhaust. If you don't think that's an issue, try this: Next time you're out walking the streets and a bus comes up to a red light, just step right in there behind it and wait. Then when it pulls away, go ahead and jog with it for a few miles. You'll show up to work smelling like you just went down on a Transformer.

#2. You Cease to Exist

Motorcycles are straight up invisible. But not in the awesome, you get to sneak into the girl's locker room kind of way (they do tend to notice naked-save-for-a-helmet men idling motorcycles in the shower stalls. Weird, right?). The number one cause of motorcyclist death is people taking an ordinary left hand turn, right in front of the bike. They check their mirrors, they flick on their turn signals, and then they calmly and deliberately proceed to murder you.

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There are four bikers jammed in the wheel well of that SUV.

I know. I've experienced it.

On one particularly blood-thirsty afternoon, while on a two-mile long trip, three people did their best to kill me. One took a left turn across my lane of traffic right in front of me, which ended with him driving through the landscaping of an apartment building. The second pulled across all lanes of traffic into mine, in an attempt to occupy the same space at the same time as myself -- they lost their axle on a curb in a last minute bid to not commit vehicular manslaughter (that was nice of them). The last I only avoided by swerving into the bike lane and flying out of traffic. It's like playing a game of Grand Theft Auto ... as the pedestrians.


In real life, Nico would smell like barbecued ass and die the first time he tried to use a semi as a ramp.

#1. It Turns You into a Moron.

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Riding a motorcycle is dangerous, and it's compounded by the fact that you basically have to do dangerous things like run red lights while you ride it. That doesn't get better with experience. In fact, as you get better at riding, you'll become more and more functionally retarded. You'll pull maneuvers you would never attempt in a car, where you're surrounded by steel and airbags and seat belts -- like lane splitting, a practice that's straight up legal in California and more or less tolerated in most other states. If you're not familiar with the idea, lane splitting is when you ride between cars on the passing line. The thought process goes something like this: Traffic is stopped (perhaps for one of those silly little red lights that I can just ride through) and cars are ahead in both lanes, but nobody is actively straddling the center line. Bam! New, bonus lane! What are you guys, stupid? Look at all this unused space!

Via Eric Schmuttenmaer
It's not like anyone ever changes lanes without signaling or anything.

In the places where it is tolerated, there are a myriad of laws and regulations about how to do it safely. Every last one of them ignores a simple, fundamental fact: This cannot be done safely. The entire practice is insane and stupid. I know this. It puts me in a permanent blind spot; an unannounced lane change will guaranteed kill me; I essentially volunteer to become the meat in a crushing steel sandwich. And yet, if it will save even one second of commute, I will somehow consider it totally justifiable at the time.

There is no legitimate reason to ride without a helmet. Ever. But you probably will. I do. I have a thousand excuses for it -- it's low traffic, I'm just going to the store, I don't want to deny the world the objective, artistic beauty of my face and so on. In my mind -- in that basic, functioning part that allows me to use a fork or breathe independently -- I know that I am taking active steps to shorten my own lifespan, but I'll still do it. Because it go fast! Wind in hair!

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Helmets are for ugly people.

Every time you set your ass on a bike, you're playing a game of Russian Roulette between yourself and your own stupidity. You live and die by the odds, and if given enough time, they will always catch up to you. Which is truly unfortunate, because I know a lot of people that ride motorcycles, and I don't know anyone that has ever quit. Every single person that's ridden for a few years has laid down their bike, and they now know, intimately, exactly how cheese feels when you grate it. Many have suffered serious injuries, and everyone has at least one friend they've lost in an accident. We stink, we stupidly risk our lives just to exchange platitudes, people try to murder us constantly (and that's only when we're not trying to do it ourselves by riding between cars and running lights) and all while constantly, constantly covered in screaming spiders -- and we all still ride.

There's only one possible explanation for it:

It's just really, really cool. You guys, seriously. They make this noise that's like BRAAMM and they go superfast and did you see that James Dean movie, where he was all like-

Motorcycle owners aren't the only ones with issues, check out 5 Bizarre Pitfalls of Owning a Classic Car. Or find out about some crazier means of transportation in 6 Transportation Innovations More Baffling Than The Segway.

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